Tosholek Version 2 Released for PotS

The updated version of Tosholek is out for PotS users. Click the link to get it. Let me know if there are any issues!
Tosholek V2.0

Update Notes:
Lighting overhaul using lightmaps
Updated journal using new book system
Textures updated and refined.
Optimized the Age so that additions can be made easier in the future.

CWE Development Library Bundle Update

After many delays, much hemming, and lots of hawing, the ability to play WebM video (vp9/opus) was merged into the main codebase today. You should still be able to compile the new codebase after this merge; however, if you would like to be able to see videos in the client, you will need to download the new devlibs bundle.

There are currently no official WebM versions of the Cyan introduction video nor the MOUL intro video. For now, you will need to convert them using third party utilities if you want them to play. We hope to fix this in the near future.

Tosholek Reborn

Let’s begin again, shall we?

View post on imgur.com

View post on imgur.com

View post on imgur.com

The next incarnation of Tosholek, and the first area of Sholek’s Arc is close to completion. This area was one I originally built for the old D’ni Location Contest. As part of my efforts to reduce the amount of shame and cringing I feel when I look at my old Ages, I have updated Tosholek. Featuring improved lighting, deeper backstory, and a heavier rock, this Age won’t give you endlessly repeatable gameplay but it will give you a window into the life of the Prophet of the Snake.

Age Concepts: Maho

Admittedly I’ve been a bit too ambitious when it comes to my Age projects. I had dreams of making my own expansion pack for Uru and so the projects I grouped together for the Beneath storyline ended up at around 9 Ages.

Thus far I have completed 4 of those Ages and the others are in various states of development. Central to this storyline was an Age called Maho which was Written by a character who goes by the name of ‘Lore’.

Read More…

Deconstructing Ages: Introduction

I’ve been meaning to pen a series of articles regarding content development for some time. The goal of these articles is to explain in part the process I go through myself in content development as well as offer advice for your own content.

Before I get started I would like to ask you a question. Why do you want to build content for Uru?

It is a relatively simple question but it gives one an understanding of how far they are prepared to go. Are you building content just for a lark? Then you may not be interested in long term skill development. Are you building content because you want to contribute to Uru? Well then that opens up possibilities. From where we could ask do you want to to build something for people to enjoy? Or perhaps do you want to build something that will one day be on par with Cyan content? Simply put the more serious a content builder is about their content the more likely they would be interested in developing their skills and pushing their talents further.

This image you see here, is of a D’ni area I built called Fehnir’s House.

You may be familiar with the location already, you may not be. This is what I am building at the moment of writing this article, indeed this image is of a build of the location I have not released yet. Looks nice right? But what if I told you that the first ever Age I built and exported was two bowl shaped masses made of a UV sphere that looks like a giant bra (not the intention). Furthermore it had no lighting and was not texture mapped correctly.
A considerable amount of my early models were similar in how, quite frankly, terrible they looked. But at the start of this I asked myself this question, why do I want to build content for Uru?

My answer was this…
I was introduced to Myst back in 1998, it has been a huge influence in my life and continues to be. In 1998 I was just starting at a school for Art and Design and my artwork was unsurprisingly inspired by Myst. I built worlds up through my paintings drawing on influences like Roger Dean to flesh them out. So when content building for Uru developed it was the perfect venture for my interests. I wanted to actually build a world where people could walk through it, I wanted to share in the feeling Cyan set down of actually feeling like you were there. In order to do this I knew I needed to keep practicing and build content that was as good as Cyans.

I have come a long way since, and I still have a lot to learn. Is my content as good as Cyans? I guess it really depends who you ask there are some that would say it’s up there. Do I think my content is as good as Cyans? No, I do not. But one day it will be if I keep working at it.

Now I am lucky, I come from a background in art and design. The things I learned at college and university I apply to my Ages, even basic things like colour theory. But I learned these skills over time, thus it is possible for others to learn these skills.

The articles will be a series that will look at different things like initial age ideas, lighting, texturing/texture making, and other aspects. I hope to give interested parties a glimpse into the kind of processes I go through in the development of my own content in the hopes that perhaps you can take ideas away from it that will benefit you.

Vaal’lin Concept: Linking Scrolls

Vaal’lin Concept: Ib

Ib Concept

Myst, Business, and Artistic Integrity

There has been a bit of public drama recently over the Myst movie project. The purpose of this post is not to delve into the drama, to drag it out into the daylight, or to step into the middle of the he-said/she-said. The purpose is to look at how this fits in to Cyan’s handling of the community and especially how it fits in to our efforts to see Uru completely open-sourced.

If there is one thing I have learned during my time as an Uru developer, it is that Cyan’s plans are unknown to everyone, including Cyan themselves. They are more than willing to change their direction and priorities – something which in most cases would be commendable. Certainly if Cyan had not been flexible over the past decade Uru would have ceased to exist in any form long ago. Unfortunately, they are so poor at communicating these changes that they seem at best mercurial and at worst vindictive.

This lack of communication has shown itself time and again in our dealings with them. I unfortunately cannot list all of the details here – I am not willing to reveal communications which were assumed to be in private – but suffice it to say that there are threads which Cyan simply ceased to participate in with no warning or explanation. Threads which at the time were, or so those participating were led to believe, central to Cyan’s plans around the future of Uru. To this day I do not know why Cyan ceased to participate in that (semi-)public discussion; I doubt I ever will.

But poor communication is not the only takeaway from recent news. The other, and I feel the more dire, is Cyan’s priorities – they have, inadvertently, finally communicated something to the fans: making money off of Myst is more important than artistic integrity. This is perhaps an inevitable result of their 19-year reliance on the Myst franchise to sustain their existence. But that inevitability does not make the result any less disappointing. And it does not bode well for our hopes of seeing fan stewardship of Uru.

I have said for quite some time that the best thing that could happen to Uru would be for Cyan to cease being involved. This is not because I have felt they have any malice, but simply because I did not believe they had the resources to give it the love and nurturing it deserves. In light of this recent news, my belief is strengthened. Cyan has shown not just a lack of resources, but a willingness to compromise D’ni. This cannot be allowed to become the future of our Uru.

I would ask you to tell Cyan what you think of their priorities, but unfortunately Cyan has shown little willingness to listen to their fans when making important decisions. Instead I ask you to let Cyan go from your lives. Choose to explore on a fan shard instead. Give your donation dollars to the developers, artists, and admins who are passionate about helping D’ni grow once more. Are you willing to see our great City stagnate and rot? Or will you be part of the new restoration and help to bring Uru and D’ni into a shining new future?

Vaal’lin Concept: Lone Guardian

Online KI – The Nexus

Ah, now where to begin. This is an idea that came about because of the many discussions about making the KI and the Nexus easier to use. Let’s start with the Nexus:

When you fire up the Nexus for the first time, there are several tabs:

  • City Locations
  • Public Neighborhoods
  • Your Instances
  • Invited Instances
  • Public Instances

Let me run through these for you. City Locations would, as usual, list locations in the public city you can link to. Unlike currently, you would start with different locations:

  • Tokotah Courtyard
  • Ferry Terminal
  • Bevin
  • Kirel
  • Seret

Okay, why Tokotah? Well, that’s where people typically like to hang out. It would make things easier than either having to link to the nearby alley or linking to Ferry Terminal and having to walk all the way up four flights of stairs. Now, why Bevin, Kirel, and Seret? These would be public instances of the three hoods. I know what you’re saying. A public Bevin? Are you nuts?!? And Seret, that’s not even a real location!!!!! The public hoods would close a canonical gap in providing access to the real, actual, instance of the three hoods. Seret would be as described previously, no telescope, redish atmosphere, and the beetle lights. It also wouldn’t have any of the special books (i.e. the Eders, the GZ anti-chamber, etc.) Now for Public Neighborhoods. This is where I explain the new features of the interface. First of all, there are scroll bars instead of those wacko up-down buttons from the current interface. Even cooler, underneath the main list you get an empty box. In there, you can type in the name of a hood and it would thin the list down for you. Cool! Your Instances is self-explanatory, it lists all of your Ages. However, there won’t be any “Nathan2055’s” junk in front of the names. Invited Instances shows your invited Ages and your saved neighborhoods (more on this in a minute). Public Instances works like its hood variant, it allows people to make their personal instances public. This would be done by ticking a “Public?” box next to each Age in the Your Instances section.

Now for neighborhoods. This will be confusing, so bear with me. Next to your Bevin link, you have two icons, a gear and a book.  The book would open up some info on the Bevin such as when it was created, as well as all the members and visitors, along with their ranks. As well, there would be an option to leave the Bevin. If you aren’t currently a member of a Bevin, a pen icon would appear allowing them to make a new Bevin. This would mean that new users couldn’t accidentally delete their Bevin’s and essentially lock them out of the city, as the delete tab would be removed from the Relto Bevin book. And on to config! The configuration gear has three tabs; decorations, members, and name. You can edit things like the stained glass for the linking rooms, the type of lights, whether the clock is there, firemarbles, etc. The members page allows you to see a list of members, invite new members, and change their rank. The system of ranks would allow you to choose who can edit the name, which can change decorations, who can invite new users, etc. You are the mayor automatically, and you can choose a new mayor through this system if you want. Yes, and also this means the clumsy method of inviting users is gone, and it is done completely through the Nexus. Finally, the name tab allows you to change the Bevin’s name without having to deal with trolling like before. As well, Bevin’s are now referred to completely as neighborhoods to make things less confusing.

That is pretty much it. I will post soon on how the KI and other features would work in this concept. Thanks to Tweek for his concepts, which provided the base for this project. See you soon!

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